How NASA Works

NASA's Mission Support
NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Image courtesy NASA
NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Mission Support Offices carry out the business and management functions of NASA activities in support of the mission directorates. These include financial activities, legal services, medical services and public affairs. Here are the mission support offices:

Chief Financial Officer - responsible for accounting

Chief Information Officer - provides information technology support for all NASA personnel and disseminates information to the public

General Counsel - provides legal services (policies, patents, quality standards including contracts and procurements)

Integrated Enterprise Management Program - manages human resources and financial matters and improves business practices

Innovative Partnership Program - establishes and oversees technology transfer and partnership relations with government agencies, private industry and academia

External Relations - coordinates all activities of mission directorates with U.S. government agencies and international agencies such as the European Space Agency and the Russian Space agency

Chief Health and Medical Officer - ensures the health of all NASA employees both in space and on the ground. This office establishes health policy and guidelines. It also oversees standards of human and animal research studies.

Institutions & Management - oversees several business aspects of NASA:

  • Diversity and Equal Opportunity - ensures NASA's compliance with federal Equal Opportunity statutes
  • Human Capital Management - human resources conducts all aspects of employment at NASA
  • Procurement - responsible for purchasing and accounting for all equipment and supplies. Like other government agencies, goods and services are obtained through a bidding and contract process. NASA usually awards the contract to the lowest bidder.
  • Security and Program Protection - oversees all aspects of security at NASA facilities including information security, counter intelligence and counter terrorism.
  • Small Business Programs - oversees the dealings of NASA with small businesses to ensure that they get equal access and the opportunity to NASA contracts and partnerships
  • NASA Shared Services - consolidates selected activities from NASA centers such as human resources, financial management, information technology and procurement

Strategic Communications - communicate, inform, and educate various groups about NASA activities

Education - provides teacher K-12 teacher support in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This office establishes partnerships with K-12 and higher education institutions to retain students in the science and technical fields. It also seeks to engage the public in NASA's mission.

Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs - communicates information between NASA, Congress, and other legislators (state, local)

Public Affairs - communicates information with the general public and news media through press releases, news conferences and the Internet.

We'll look at the NASA Administrator's Office next.

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